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The heavy haulage industry is the heartbeat of the South African economy and never has this been truer than now in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fleet operators and truck drivers must continue working during the national lockdown to ensure that stores, pharmacies and hospitals are well stocked with essential and medical supplies. Many fleet operators may be working with skeleton staff putting them and the drivers under immense pressure. By the very nature of this industry, truck drivers work under uniquely physically demanding conditions, putting them at increased risk of a range of chronic health conditions, including diabetes and hypertension. These conditions coupled with fatigue can negatively affect the reaction time and can significantly increase the risk of collisions.
As Santam, we encourage fleet operators to prioritise the health and wellness of truck drivers during the lockdown and ensure adequate steps are taken to keep drivers healthy and safe. It is only times like these that it becomes evident that truck drivers play an important role in the economy, not just in times of disaster but every day.
Below is a list of tips that can help keep truck drivers safer on the roads:1. Take care of drivers
The most important part of a moving truck is the driver.
2. Driving and rest periods
The Professional Drivers’ Digest lists the following as the recommended driving and rest periods:
3. Schedule safe places to stop and restGood road route assessments and safe stopping areas tailored for each of the fleets’ / companies’ routes could limit the risk of truck-jacking and theft of cargo4. Manage expectations with dispatchers
5. Use of technology (telematics/vehicle monitoring/dashboard cameras)
6. Take note of the initiatives by the Road Freight Association. These include but not limited to:
Truck drivers will most likely be the unsung heroes of this lockdown. They are keeping South Africa going, making sure that our families are fed, cars that get essential workers to and from their jobs have petrol and that South Africa has access to medical supplies. Let us make sure that their well-being is always prioritised.
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